Shelby Houlihan allowed to race at US Olympic trials pending appeal of doping ban

National News

FILE – In this Sunday, July 28, 2019, file photo, Shelby Houlihan crosses the finish line as she wins the women’s 5,000-meter run at the U.S. Championships athletics meet, in Des Moines, Iowa. Houlihan, the American record holder in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters, posted on social media that she’s been banned for four years following a positive test for what she concluded was a tainted pork burrito. Houlihan said she received an email from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) on Jan. 14, 2021, notifying her that a drug testing sample returned a finding for the anabolic steroid nandrolone. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Banned runner Shelby Houlihan is in the lineup and will be allowed to run at U.S. Olympic track and field trials while any appeals she files are pending.

Iowa-native Houlihan, the American record holder at 1,500 and 5,000 meters, is on the start list for Friday’s 5,000 preliminaries. Though that list was initially produced before word of her four-year doping ban went public, USA Track and Field said there were no plans to take her off.

“Given there is an active appeal process, USATF will allow any athletes to continue competing until the process is completed,” managing director of communications Susan Hazzard said.

Earlier this week, the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld Houlihan’s four-year ban for testing positive for trace amounts of the performance enhancer nandrolone.

She blamed a positive test on a pork burrito she ate 10 hours before a test in December. Contaminated meats have led to positive tests in other cases, many of which have been dismissed. But Houlihan did not receive any leniency, and her ban would keep her out of the upcoming Olympics and the 2024 Games.

It still might, but USATF doesn’t want to deny her a chance to qualify if, in fact, she can be reinstated on an appeal.

“You can always resolve the outcome later, but you can’t re-run a race,” CEO Max Siegel said.

Houlihan’s representatives would not say what her next move would be. Typically, when athletes lose cases at CAS, which is based in Switzerland, they appeal to that country’s highest court. In time-sensitive cases, that court can issue an injunction that would allow an athlete to participate while a case is decided.

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